THE TUGGSES AT RAMSGATE
Once upon a time there dwelt, in a narrow street on the Surrey side
of the water, within three minutes' walk of old London Bridge, Mr.
Joseph Tuggs--a little dark-faced man, with shiny hair, twinkling
eyes, short legs, and a body of very considerable thickness,
measuring from the centre button of his waistcoat in front, to the
ornamental buttons of his coat behind. The figure of the amiable
Mrs. Tuggs, if not perfectly symmetrical, was decidedly
comfortable; and the form of her only daughter, the accomplished
Miss Charlotte Tuggs, was fast ripening into that state of
luxuriant plumpness which had enchanted the eyes, and captivated
the heart, of Mr. Joseph Tuggs in his earlier days. Mr. Simon
Tuggs, his only son, and Miss Charlotte Tuggs's only brother, was
as differently formed in body, as he was differently constituted in
mind, from the remainder of his family. There was that elongation
in his thoughtful face, and that tendency to weakness in his
interesting legs, which tell so forcibly of a great mind and
romantic disposition. The slightest traits of character in such a
being, possess no mean interest to speculative minds. He usually
appeared in public, in capacious shoes with black cotton stockings;
and was observed to be particularly attached to a black glazed
stock, without tie or ornament of any description.
There is perhaps no profession, however useful; no pursuit, however
meritorious; which can escape the petty attacks of vulgar minds.
Mr. Joseph Tuggs was a grocer. It might be supposed that a grocer
was beyond the breath of calumny; but no--the neighbours
stigmatised him as a chandler; and the poisonous voice of envy
distinctly asserted that he dispensed tea and coffee by the
quartern, retailed sugar by the ounce, cheese by the slice, tobacco
by the screw, and butter by the pat. These taunts, however, were
lost upon the Tuggses. Mr. Tuggs attended to the grocery
department; Mrs. Tuggs to the cheesemongery; and Miss Tuggs to her
education. Mr. Simon Tuggs kept his father's books, and his own
One fine spring afternoon, the latter gentleman was seated on a tub
of weekly Dorset, behind the little red desk with a wooden rail,
which ornamented a corner of the counter; when a stranger
dismounted from a cab, and hastily entered the shop. He was
habited in black cloth, and bore with him, a green umbrella, and a
'Mr. Tuggs?' said the stranger, inquiringly.
'MY name is Tuggs,' replied Mr. Simon.
'It's the other Mr. Tuggs,' said the stranger, looking towards the
glass door which led into the parlour behind the shop, and on the
inside of which, the round face of Mr. Tuggs, senior, was
distinctly visible, peeping over the curtain.
Mr. Simon gracefully waved his pen, as if in intimation of his wish
that his father would advance. Mr. Joseph Tuggs, with considerable
celerity, removed his face from the curtain and placed it before
'I come from the Temple,' said the man with the bag.
'From the Temple!' said Mrs. Tuggs, flinging open the door of the
little parlour and disclosing Miss Tuggs in perspective.
'From the Temple!' said Miss Tuggs and Mr. Simon Tuggs at the same
'From the Temple!' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs, turning as pale as a
'From the Temple,' repeated the man with the bag; 'from Mr.
Cower's, the solicitor's. Mr. Tuggs, I congratulate you, sir.
Ladies, I wish you joy of your prosperity! We have been
successful.' And the man with the bag leisurely divested himself
of his umbrella and glove, as a preliminary to shaking hands with
Mr. Joseph Tuggs.
Now the words 'we have been successful,' had no sooner issued from
the mouth of the man with the bag, than Mr. Simon Tuggs rose from
the tub of weekly Dorset, opened his eyes very wide, gasped for
breath, made figures of eight in the air with his pen, and finally
fell into the arms of his anxious mother, and fainted away without
the slightest ostensible cause or pretence.
'Water!' screamed Mrs. Tuggs.
'Look up, my son,' exclaimed Mr. Tuggs.
'Simon! dear Simon!' shrieked Miss Tuggs.
'I'm better now,' said Mr. Simon Tuggs. 'What! successful!' And
then, as corroborative evidence of his being better, he fainted
away again, and was borne into the little parlour by the united
efforts of the remainder of the family, and the man with the bag.
To a casual spectator, or to any one unacquainted with the position
of the family, this fainting would have been unaccountable. To
those who understood the mission of the man with the bag, and were
moreover acquainted with the excitability of the nerves of Mr.
Simon Tuggs, it was quite comprehensible. A long-pending lawsuit
respecting the validity of a will, had been unexpectedly decided;
and Mr. Joseph Tuggs was the possessor of twenty thousand pounds.
A prolonged consultation took place, that night, in the little
parlour--a consultation that was to settle the future destinies of
the Tuggses. The shop was shut up, at an unusually early hour; and
many were the unavailing kicks bestowed upon the closed door by
applicants for quarterns of sugar, or half-quarterns of bread, or
penn'orths of pepper, which were to have been 'left till Saturday,'
but which fortune had decreed were to be left alone altogether.
'We must certainly give up business,' said Miss Tuggs.
'Oh, decidedly,' said Mrs. Tuggs.
'Simon shall go to the bar,' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs.
'And I shall always sign myself "Cymon" in future,' said his son.
'And I shall call myself Charlotta,' said Miss Tuggs.
'And you must always call ME "Ma," and father "Pa,"' said Mrs.
'Yes, and Pa must leave off all his vulgar habits,' interposed Miss
'I'll take care of all that,' responded Mr. Joseph Tuggs,
complacently. He was, at that very moment, eating pickled salmon
with a pocket-knife.
'We must leave town immediately,' said Mr. Cymon Tuggs.
Everybody concurred that this was an indispensable preliminary to
being genteel. The question then arose, Where should they go?
'Gravesend?' mildly suggested Mr. Joseph Tuggs. The idea was
unanimously scouted. Gravesend was LOW.
'Margate?' insinuated Mrs. Tuggs. Worse and worse--nobody there,
'Brighton?' Mr. Cymon Tuggs opposed an insurmountable objection.
All the coaches had been upset, in turn, within the last three
weeks; each coach had averaged two passengers killed, and six
wounded; and, in every case, the newspapers had distinctly
understood that 'no blame whatever was attributable to the
'Ramsgate?' ejaculated Mr. Cymon, thoughtfully. To be sure; how
stupid they must have been, not to have thought of that before!
Ramsgate was just the place of all others.
Two months after this conversation, the City of London Ramsgate
steamer was running gaily down the river. Her flag was flying, her
band was playing, her passengers were conversing; everything about
her seemed gay and lively.--No wonder--the Tuggses were on board.
'Charming, ain't it?' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs, in a bottle-green
great-coat, with a velvet collar of the same, and a blue
travelling-cap with a gold band.
'Soul-inspiring,' replied Mr. Cymon Tuggs--he was entered at the
'Delightful morning, sir!' said a stoutish, military-looking
gentleman in a blue surtout buttoned up to his chin, and white
trousers chained down to the soles of his boots.
Mr. Cymon Tuggs took upon himself the responsibility of answering
the observation. 'Heavenly!' he replied.
'You are an enthusiastic admirer of the beauties of Nature, sir?'
said the military gentleman.
'I am, sir,' replied Mr. Cymon Tuggs.
'Travelled much, sir?' inquired the military gentleman.
'Not much,' replied Mr. Cymon Tuggs.
'You've been on the continent, of course?' inquired the military
'Not exactly,' replied Mr. Cymon Tuggs--in a qualified tone, as if
he wished it to be implied that he had gone half-way and come back
'You of course intend your son to make the grand tour, sir?' said
the military gentleman, addressing Mr. Joseph Tuggs.
As Mr. Joseph Tuggs did not precisely understand what the grand
tour was, or how such an article was manufactured, he replied, 'Of
course.' Just as he said the word, there came tripping up, from
her seat at the stern of the vessel, a young lady in a puce-
coloured silk cloak, and boots of the same; with long black
ringlets, large black eyes, brief petticoats, and unexceptionable
'Walter, my dear,' said the young lady to the military gentleman.
'Yes, Belinda, my love,' responded the military gentleman to the
black-eyed young lady.
'What have you left me alone so long for?' said the young lady. 'I
have been stared out of countenance by those rude young men.'
'What! stared at?' exclaimed the military gentleman, with an
emphasis which made Mr. Cymon Tuggs withdraw his eyes from the
young lady's face with inconceivable rapidity. 'Which young men--
where?' and the military gentleman clenched his fist, and glared
fearfully on the cigar-smokers around.
'Be calm, Walter, I entreat,' said the young lady.
'I won't,' said the military gentleman.
'Do, sir,' interposed Mr. Cymon Tuggs. 'They ain't worth your
'No--no--they are not, indeed,' urged the young lady.
'I WILL be calm,' said the military gentleman. 'You speak truly,
sir. I thank you for a timely remonstrance, which may have spared
me the guilt of manslaughter.' Calming his wrath, the military
gentleman wrung Mr. Cymon Tuggs by the hand.
'My sister, sir!' said Mr. Cymon Tuggs; seeing that the military
gentleman was casting an admiring look towards Miss Charlotta.
'My wife, ma'am--Mrs. Captain Waters,' said the military gentleman,
presenting the black-eyed young lady.
'My mother, ma'am--Mrs. Tuggs,' said Mr. Cymon. The military
gentleman and his wife murmured enchanting courtesies; and the
Tuggses looked as unembarrassed as they could.
'Walter, my dear,' said the black-eyed young lady, after they had
sat chatting with the Tuggses some half-hour.
'Yes, my love,' said the military gentleman.
'Don't you think this gentleman (with an inclination of the head
towards Mr. Cymon Tuggs) is very much like the Marquis Carriwini?'
'Lord bless me, very!' said the military gentleman.
'It struck me, the moment I saw him,' said the young lady, gazing
intently, and with a melancholy air, on the scarlet countenance of
Mr. Cymon Tuggs. Mr. Cymon Tuggs looked at everybody; and finding
that everybody was looking at him, appeared to feel some temporary
difficulty in disposing of his eyesight.
'So exactly the air of the marquis,' said the military gentleman.
'Quite extraordinary!' sighed the military gentleman's lady.
'You don't know the marquis, sir?' inquired the military gentleman.
Mr. Cymon Tuggs stammered a negative.
'If you did,' continued Captain Walter Waters, 'you would feel how
much reason you have to be proud of the resemblance--a most elegant
man, with a most prepossessing appearance.'
'He is--he is indeed!' exclaimed Belinda Waters energetically. As
her eye caught that of Mr. Cymon Tuggs, she withdrew it from his
features in bashful confusion.
All this was highly gratifying to the feelings of the Tuggses; and
when, in the course of farther conversation, it was discovered that
Miss Charlotta Tuggs was the fac simile of a titled relative of
Mrs. Belinda Waters, and that Mrs. Tuggs herself was the very
picture of the Dowager Duchess of Dobbleton, their delight in the
acquisition of so genteel and friendly an acquaintance, knew no
bounds. Even the dignity of Captain Walter Waters relaxed, to that
degree, that he suffered himself to be prevailed upon by Mr. Joseph
Tuggs, to partake of cold pigeon-pie and sherry, on deck; and a
most delightful conversation, aided by these agreeable stimulants,
was prolonged, until they ran alongside Ramsgate Pier.
'Good-bye, dear!' said Mrs. Captain Waters to Miss Charlotta Tuggs,
just before the bustle of landing commenced; 'we shall see you on
the sands in the morning; and, as we are sure to have found
lodgings before then, I hope we shall be inseparables for many
weeks to come.'
'Oh! I hope so,' said Miss Charlotta Tuggs, emphatically.
'Tickets, ladies and gen'lm'n,' said the man on the paddle-box.
'Want a porter, sir?' inquired a dozen men in smock-frocks.
'Now, my dear!' said Captain Waters.
'Good-bye!' said Mrs. Captain Waters--'good-bye, Mr. Cymon!' and
with a pressure of the hand which threw the amiable young man's
nerves into a state of considerable derangement, Mrs. Captain
Waters disappeared among the crowd. A pair of puce-coloured boots
were seen ascending the steps, a white handkerchief fluttered, a
black eye gleamed. The Waterses were gone, and Mr. Cymon Tuggs was
alone in a heartless world.
Silently and abstractedly, did that too sensitive youth follow his
revered parents, and a train of smock-frocks and wheelbarrows,
along the pier, until the bustle of the scene around, recalled him
to himself. The sun was shining brightly; the sea, dancing to its
own music, rolled merrily in; crowds of people promenaded to and
fro; young ladies tittered; old ladies talked; nursemaids displayed
their charms to the greatest possible advantage; and their little
charges ran up and down, and to and fro, and in and out, under the
feet, and between the legs, of the assembled concourse, in the most
playful and exhilarating manner. There were old gentlemen, trying
to make out objects through long telescopes; and young ones, making
objects of themselves in open shirt-collars; ladies, carrying about
portable chairs, and portable chairs carrying about invalids;
parties, waiting on the pier for parties who had come by the steam-
boat; and nothing was to be heard but talking, laughing, welcoming,
'Fly, sir?' exclaimed a chorus of fourteen men and six boys, the
moment Mr. Joseph Tuggs, at the head of his little party, set foot
in the street.
'Here's the gen'lm'n at last!' said one, touching his hat with mock
politeness. 'Werry glad to see you, sir,--been a-waitin' for you
these six weeks. Jump in, if you please, sir!'
'Nice light fly and a fast trotter, sir,' said another: 'fourteen
mile a hour, and surroundin' objects rendered inwisible by ex-treme
'Large fly for your luggage, sir,' cried a third. 'Werry large fly
here, sir--reg'lar bluebottle!'
'Here's YOUR fly, sir!' shouted another aspiring charioteer,
mounting the box, and inducing an old grey horse to indulge in some
imperfect reminiscences of a canter. 'Look at him, sir!--temper of
a lamb and haction of a steam-ingein!'
Resisting even the temptation of securing the services of so
valuable a quadruped as the last named, Mr. Joseph Tuggs beckoned
to the proprietor of a dingy conveyance of a greenish hue, lined
with faded striped calico; and, the luggage and the family having
been deposited therein, the animal in the shafts, after describing
circles in the road for a quarter of an hour, at last consented to
depart in quest of lodgings.
'How many beds have you got?' screamed Mrs. Tuggs out of the fly,
to the woman who opened the door of the first house which displayed
a bill intimating that apartments were to be let within.
'How many did you want, ma'am?' was, of course, the reply.
'Will you step in, ma'am?' Down got Mrs. Tuggs. The family were
delighted. Splendid view of the sea from the front windows--
charming! A short pause. Back came Mrs. Tuggs again.--One parlour
and a mattress.
'Why the devil didn't they say so at first?' inquired Mr. Joseph
Tuggs, rather pettishly.
'Don't know,' said Mrs. Tuggs.
'Wretches!' exclaimed the nervous Cymon. Another bill--another
stoppage. Same question--same answer--similar result.
'What do they mean by this?' inquired Mr. Joseph Tuggs, thoroughly
out of temper.
'Don't know,' said the placid Mrs. Tuggs.
'Orvis the vay here, sir,' said the driver, by way of accounting
for the circumstance in a satisfactory manner; and off they went
again, to make fresh inquiries, and encounter fresh
It had grown dusk when the 'fly'--the rate of whose progress
greatly belied its name--after climbing up four or five
perpendicular hills, stopped before the door of a dusty house, with
a bay window, from which you could obtain a beautiful glimpse of
the sea--if you thrust half of your body out of it, at the imminent
peril of falling into the area. Mrs. Tuggs alighted. One ground-
floor sitting-room, and three cells with beds in them up-stairs. A
double-house. Family on the opposite side. Five children milk-
and-watering in the parlour, and one little boy, expelled for bad
behaviour, screaming on his back in the passage.
'What's the terms?' said Mrs. Tuggs. The mistress of the house was
considering the expediency of putting on an extra guinea; so, she
coughed slightly, and affected not to hear the question.
'What's the terms?' said Mrs. Tuggs, in a louder key.
'Five guineas a week, ma'am, WITH attendance,' replied the lodging-
house keeper. (Attendance means the privilege of ringing the bell
as often as you like, for your own amusement.)
'Rather dear,' said Mrs. Tuggs. 'Oh dear, no, ma'am!' replied the
mistress of the house, with a benign smile of pity at the ignorance
of manners and customs, which the observation betrayed. 'Very
Such an authority was indisputable. Mrs. Tuggs paid a week's rent
in advance, and took the lodgings for a month. In an hour's time,
the family were seated at tea in their new abode.
'Capital srimps!' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs.
Mr. Cymon eyed his father with a rebellious scowl, as he
emphatically said 'SHRIMPS.'
'Well, then, shrimps,' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs. 'Srimps or shrimps,
don't much matter.'
There was pity, blended with malignity, in Mr. Cymon's eye, as he
replied, 'Don't matter, father! What would Captain Waters say, if
he heard such vulgarity?'
'Or what would dear Mrs. Captain Waters say,' added Charlotta, 'if
she saw mother--ma, I mean--eating them whole, heads and all!'
'It won't bear thinking of!' ejaculated Mr. Cymon, with a shudder.
'How different,' he thought, 'from the Dowager Duchess of
'Very pretty woman, Mrs. Captain Waters, is she not, Cymon?'
inquired Miss Charlotta.
A glow of nervous excitement passed over the countenance of Mr.
Cymon Tuggs, as he replied, 'An angel of beauty!'
'Hallo!' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs. 'Hallo, Cymon, my boy, take care.
Married lady, you know;' and he winked one of his twinkling eyes
'Why,' exclaimed Cymon, starting up with an ebullition of fury, as
unexpected as alarming, 'why am I to be reminded of that blight of
my happiness, and ruin of my hopes? Why am I to be taunted with
the miseries which are heaped upon my head? Is it not enough to--
to--to--' and the orator paused; but whether for want of words, or
lack of breath, was never distinctly ascertained.
There was an impressive solemnity in the tone of this address, and
in the air with which the romantic Cymon, at its conclusion, rang
the bell, and demanded a flat candlestick, which effectually
forbade a reply. He stalked dramatically to bed, and the Tuggses
went to bed too, half an hour afterwards, in a state of
considerable mystification and perplexity.
If the pier had presented a scene of life and bustle to the Tuggses
on their first landing at Ramsgate, it was far surpassed by the
appearance of the sands on the morning after their arrival. It was
a fine, bright, clear day, with a light breeze from the sea. There
were the same ladies and gentlemen, the same children, the same
nursemaids, the same telescopes, the same portable chairs. The
ladies were employed in needlework, or watch-guard making, or
knitting, or reading novels; the gentlemen were reading newspapers
and magazines; the children were digging holes in the sand with
wooden spades, and collecting water therein; the nursemaids, with
their youngest charges in their arms, were running in after the
waves, and then running back with the waves after them; and, now
and then, a little sailing-boat either departed with a gay and
talkative cargo of passengers, or returned with a very silent and
particularly uncomfortable-looking one.
'Well, I never!' exclaimed Mrs. Tuggs, as she and Mr. Joseph Tuggs,
and Miss Charlotta Tuggs, and Mr. Cymon Tuggs, with their eight
feet in a corresponding number of yellow shoes, seated themselves
on four rush-bottomed chairs, which, being placed in a soft part of
the sand, forthwith sunk down some two feet and a half--'Well, I
Mr. Cymon, by an exertion of great personal strength, uprooted the
chairs, and removed them further back.
'Why, I'm blessed if there ain't some ladies a-going in!' exclaimed
Mr. Joseph Tuggs, with intense astonishment.
'Lor, pa!' exclaimed Miss Charlotta.
'There IS, my dear,' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs. And, sure enough, four
young ladies, each furnished with a towel, tripped up the steps of
a bathing-machine. In went the horse, floundering about in the
water; round turned the machine; down sat the driver; and presently
out burst the young ladies aforesaid, with four distinct splashes.
'Well, that's sing'ler, too!' ejaculated Mr. Joseph Tuggs, after an
awkward pause. Mr. Cymon coughed slightly.
'Why, here's some gentlemen a-going in on this side!' exclaimed
Mrs. Tuggs, in a tone of horror.
Three machines--three horses--three flounderings--three turnings
round--three splashes--three gentlemen, disporting themselves in
the water like so many dolphins.
'Well, THAT'S sing'ler!' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs again. Miss
Charlotta coughed this time, and another pause ensued. It was
'How d'ye do, dear? We have been looking for you, all the
morning,' said a voice to Miss Charlotta Tuggs. Mrs. Captain
Waters was the owner of it.
'How d'ye do?' said Captain Walter Waters, all suavity; and a most
cordial interchange of greetings ensued.
'Belinda, my love,' said Captain Walter Waters, applying his glass
to his eye, and looking in the direction of the sea.
'Yes, my dear,' replied Mrs. Captain Waters.
'There's Harry Thompson!'
'Where?' said Belinda, applying her glass to her eye.
'Lor, so it is! He don't see us, does he?'
'No, I don't think he does' replied the captain. 'Bless my soul,
how very singular!'
'What?' inquired Belinda.
'There's Mary Golding, too.'
'Lor!--where?' (Up went the glass again.)
'There!' said the captain, pointing to one of the young ladies
before noticed, who, in her bathing costume, looked as if she was
enveloped in a patent Mackintosh, of scanty dimensions.
'So it is, I declare!' exclaimed Mrs. Captain Waters. 'How very
curious we should see them both!'
'Very,' said the captain, with perfect coolness.
'It's the reg'lar thing here, you see,' whispered Mr. Cymon Tuggs
to his father.
'I see it is,' whispered Mr. Joseph Tuggs in reply. 'Queer,
though--ain't it?' Mr. Cymon Tuggs nodded assent.
'What do you think of doing with yourself this morning?' inquired
the captain. 'Shall we lunch at Pegwell?'
'I should like that very much indeed,' interposed Mrs. Tuggs. She
had never heard of Pegwell; but the word 'lunch' had reached her
ears, and it sounded very agreeably.
'How shall we go?' inquired the captain; 'it's too warm to walk.'
'A shay?' suggested Mr. Joseph Tuggs.
'Chaise,' whispered Mr. Cymon.
'I should think one would be enough,' said Mr. Joseph Tuggs aloud,
quite unconscious of the meaning of the correction. 'However, two
shays if you like.'
'I should like a donkey SO much,' said Belinda.
'Oh, so should I!' echoed Charlotta Tuggs.
'Well, we can have a fly,' suggested the captain, 'and you can have
a couple of donkeys.'
A fresh difficulty arose. Mrs. Captain Waters declared it would be
decidedly improper for two ladies to ride alone. The remedy was
obvious. Perhaps young Mr. Tuggs would be gallant enough to
Mr. Cymon Tuggs blushed, smiled, looked vacant, and faintly
protested that he was no horseman. The objection was at once
overruled. A fly was speedily found; and three donkeys--which the
proprietor declared on his solemn asseveration to be 'three parts
blood, and the other corn'--were engaged in the service.
'Kim up!' shouted one of the two boys who followed behind, to
propel the donkeys, when Belinda Waters and Charlotta Tuggs had
been hoisted, and pushed, and pulled, into their respective
'Hi--hi--hi!' groaned the other boy behind Mr. Cymon Tuggs. Away
went the donkey, with the stirrups jingling against the heels of
Cymon's boots, and Cymon's boots nearly scraping the ground.
'Way--way! Wo--o--o -!' cried Mr. Cymon Tuggs as well as he could,
in the midst of the jolting.
'Don't make it gallop!' screamed Mrs. Captain Waters, behind.
'My donkey WILL go into the public-house!' shrieked Miss Tuggs in
'Hi--hi--hi!' groaned both the boys together; and on went the
donkeys as if nothing would ever stop them.
Everything has an end, however; even the galloping of donkeys will
cease in time. The animal which Mr. Cymon Tuggs bestrode, feeling
sundry uncomfortable tugs at the bit, the intent of which he could
by no means divine, abruptly sidled against a brick wall, and
expressed his uneasiness by grinding Mr. Cymon Tuggs's leg on the
rough surface. Mrs. Captain Waters's donkey, apparently under the
influence of some playfulness of spirit, rushed suddenly, head
first, into a hedge, and declined to come out again: and the
quadruped on which Miss Tuggs was mounted, expressed his delight at
this humorous proceeding by firmly planting his fore-feet against
the ground, and kicking up his hind-legs in a very agile, but
somewhat alarming manner.
This abrupt termination to the rapidity of the ride, naturally
occasioned some confusion. Both the ladies indulged in vehement
screaming for several minutes; and Mr. Cymon Tuggs, besides
sustaining intense bodily pain, had the additional mental anguish
of witnessing their distressing situation, without having the power
to rescue them, by reason of his leg being firmly screwed in
between the animal and the wall. The efforts of the boys, however,
assisted by the ingenious expedient of twisting the tail of the
most rebellious donkey, restored order in a much shorter time than
could have reasonably been expected, and the little party jogged
slowly on together.
'Now let 'em walk,' said Mr. Cymon Tuggs. 'It's cruel to overdrive
'Werry well, sir,' replied the boy, with a grin at his companion,
as if he understood Mr. Cymon to mean that the cruelty applied less
to the animals than to their riders.
'What a lovely day, dear!' said Charlotta.
'Charming; enchanting, dear!' responded Mrs. Captain Waters.
'What a beautiful prospect, Mr. Tuggs!'
Cymon looked full in Belinda's face, as he responded--'Beautiful,
indeed!' The lady cast down her eyes, and suffered the animal she
was riding to fall a little back. Cymon Tuggs instinctively did
There was a brief silence, broken only by a sigh from Mr. Cymon
'Mr. Cymon,' said the lady suddenly, in a low tone, 'Mr. Cymon--I
Mr. Cymon expressed his perfect concurrence in a statement which it
was impossible to controvert.
'If I had not been--' resumed Belinda; and there she stopped.
'What--what?' said Mr. Cymon earnestly. 'Do not torture me. What
would you say?'
'If I had not been'--continued Mrs. Captain Waters--'if, in earlier
life, it had been my fate to have known, and been beloved by, a
noble youth--a kindred soul--a congenial spirit--one capable of
feeling and appreciating the sentiments which--'
'Heavens! what do I hear?' exclaimed Mr. Cymon Tuggs. 'Is it
possible! can I believe my--Come up!' (This last unsentimental
parenthesis was addressed to the donkey, who, with his head between
his fore-legs, appeared to be examining the state of his shoes with
'Hi--hi--hi,' said the boys behind. 'Come up,' expostulated Cymon
Tuggs again. 'Hi--hi--hi,' repeated the boys. And whether it was
that the animal felt indignant at the tone of Mr. Tuggs's command,
or felt alarmed by the noise of the deputy proprietor's boots
running behind him; or whether he burned with a noble emulation to
outstrip the other donkeys; certain it is that he no sooner heard
the second series of 'hi--hi's,' than he started away, with a
celerity of pace which jerked Mr. Cymon's hat off, instantaneously,
and carried him to the Pegwell Bay hotel in no time, where he
deposited his rider without giving him the trouble of dismounting,
by sagaciously pitching him over his head, into the very doorway of
Great was the confusion of Mr. Cymon Tuggs, when he was put right
end uppermost, by two waiters; considerable was the alarm of Mrs.
Tuggs in behalf of her son; agonizing were the apprehensions of
Mrs. Captain Waters on his account. It was speedily discovered,
however, that he had not sustained much more injury than the
donkey--he was grazed, and the animal was grazing--and then it WAS
a delightful party to be sure! Mr. and Mrs. Tuggs, and the
captain, had ordered lunch in the little garden behind:--small
saucers of large shrimps, dabs of butter, crusty loaves, and
bottled ale. The sky was without a cloud; there were flower-pots
and turf before them; the sea, from the foot of the cliff,
stretching away as far as the eye could discern anything at all;
vessels in the distance with sails as white, and as small, as
nicely-got-up cambric handkerchiefs. The shrimps were delightful,
the ale better, and the captain even more pleasant than either.
Mrs. Captain Waters was in SUCH spirits after lunch!--chasing,
first the captain across the turf, and among the flower-pots; and
then Mr. Cymon Tuggs; and then Miss Tuggs; and laughing, too, quite
boisterously. But as the captain said, it didn't matter; who knew
what they were, there? For all the people of the house knew, they
might be common people. To which Mr. Joseph Tuggs responded, 'To
be sure.' And then they went down the steep wooden steps a little
further on, which led to the bottom of the cliff; and looked at the
crabs, and the seaweed, and the eels, till it was more than fully
time to go back to Ramsgate again. Finally, Mr. Cymon Tuggs
ascended the steps last, and Mrs. Captain Waters last but one; and
Mr. Cymon Tuggs discovered that the foot and ankle of Mrs. Captain
Waters, were even more unexceptionable than he had at first
Taking a donkey towards his ordinary place of residence, is a very
different thing, and a feat much more easily to be accomplished,
than taking him from it. It requires a great deal of foresight and
presence of mind in the one case, to anticipate the numerous
flights of his discursive imagination; whereas, in the other, all
you have to do, is, to hold on, and place a blind confidence in the
animal. Mr. Cymon Tuggs adopted the latter expedient on his
return; and his nerves were so little discomposed by the journey,
that he distinctly understood they were all to meet again at the
library in the evening.
The library was crowded. There were the same ladies, and the same
gentlemen, who had been on the sands in the morning, and on the
pier the day before. There were young ladies, in maroon-coloured
gowns and black velvet bracelets, dispensing fancy articles in the
shop, and presiding over games of chance in the concert-room.
There were marriageable daughters, and marriage-making mammas,
gaming and promenading, and turning over music, and flirting.
There were some male beaux doing the sentimental in whispers, and
others doing the ferocious in moustache. There were Mrs. Tuggs in
amber, Miss Tuggs in sky-blue, Mrs. Captain Waters in pink. There
was Captain Waters in a braided surtout; there was Mr. Cymon Tuggs
in pumps and a gilt waistcoat; there was Mr. Joseph Tuggs in a blue
coat and a shirt-frill.
'Numbers three, eight, and eleven!' cried one of the young ladies
in the maroon-coloured gowns.
'Numbers three, eight, and eleven!' echoed another young lady in
the same uniform.
'Number three's gone,' said the first young lady. 'Numbers eight
'Numbers eight and eleven!' echoed the second young lady.
'Number eight's gone, Mary Ann,' said the first young lady.
'Number eleven!' screamed the second.
'The numbers are all taken now, ladies, if you please,' said the
first. The representatives of numbers three, eight, and eleven,
and the rest of the numbers, crowded round the table.
'Will you throw, ma'am?' said the presiding goddess, handing the
dice-box to the eldest daughter of a stout lady, with four girls.
There was a profound silence among the lookers-on.
'Throw, Jane, my dear,' said the stout lady. An interesting
display of bashfulness--a little blushing in a cambric
handkerchief--a whispering to a younger sister.
'Amelia, my dear, throw for your sister,' said the stout lady; and
then she turned to a walking advertisement of Rowlands' Macassar
Oil, who stood next her, and said, 'Jane is so VERY modest and
retiring; but I can't be angry with her for it. An artless and
unsophisticated girl is SO truly amiable, that I often wish Amelia
was more like her sister!'
The gentleman with the whiskers whispered his admiring approval.
'Now, my dear!' said the stout lady. Miss Amelia threw--eight for
her sister, ten for herself.
'Nice figure, Amelia,' whispered the stout lady to a thin youth
'And SUCH a spirit! I am like you in that respect. I can NOT help
admiring that life and vivacity. Ah! (a sigh) I wish I could make
poor Jane a little more like my dear Amelia!'
The young gentleman cordially acquiesced in the sentiment; both he,
and the individual first addressed, were perfectly contented.
'Who's this?' inquired Mr. Cymon Tuggs of Mrs. Captain Waters, as a
short female, in a blue velvet hat and feathers, was led into the
orchestra, by a fat man in black tights and cloudy Berlins.
'Mrs. Tippin, of the London theatres,' replied Belinda, referring
to the programme of the concert.
The talented Tippin having condescendingly acknowledged the
clapping of hands, and shouts of 'bravo!' which greeted her
appearance, proceeded to sing the popular cavatina of 'Bid me
discourse,' accompanied on the piano by Mr. Tippin; after which,
Mr. Tippin sang a comic song, accompanied on the piano by Mrs.
Tippin: the applause consequent upon which, was only to be
exceeded by the enthusiastic approbation bestowed upon an air with
variations on the guitar, by Miss Tippin, accompanied on the chin
by Master Tippin.
Thus passed the evening; thus passed the days and evenings of the
Tuggses, and the Waterses, for six weeks. Sands in the morning--
donkeys at noon--pier in the afternoon--library at night--and the
same people everywhere.
On that very night six weeks, the moon was shining brightly over
the calm sea, which dashed against the feet of the tall gaunt
cliffs, with just enough noise to lull the old fish to sleep,
without disturbing the young ones, when two figures were
discernible--or would have been, if anybody had looked for them--
seated on one of the wooden benches which are stationed near the
verge of the western cliff. The moon had climbed higher into the
heavens, by two hours' journeying, since those figures first sat
down--and yet they had moved not. The crowd of loungers had
thinned and dispersed; the noise of itinerant musicians had died
away; light after light had appeared in the windows of the
different houses in the distance; blockade-man after blockade-man
had passed the spot, wending his way towards his solitary post; and
yet those figures had remained stationary. Some portions of the
two forms were in deep shadow, but the light of the moon fell
strongly on a puce-coloured boot and a glazed stock. Mr. Cymon
Tuggs and Mrs. Captain Waters were seated on that bench. They
spoke not, but were silently gazing on the sea.
'Walter will return to-morrow,' said Mrs. Captain Waters,
mournfully breaking silence.
Mr. Cymon Tuggs sighed like a gust of wind through a forest of
gooseberry bushes, as he replied, 'Alas! he will.'
'Oh, Cymon!' resumed Belinda, 'the chaste delight, the calm
happiness, of this one week of Platonic love, is too much for me!'
Cymon was about to suggest that it was too little for him, but he
stopped himself, and murmured unintelligibly.
'And to think that even this gleam of happiness, innocent as it
is,' exclaimed Belinda, 'is now to be lost for ever!'
'Oh, do not say for ever, Belinda,' exclaimed the excitable Cymon,
as two strongly-defined tears chased each other down his pale face-
-it was so long that there was plenty of room for a chase. 'Do not
say for ever!'
'I must,' replied Belinda.
'Why?' urged Cymon, 'oh why? Such Platonic acquaintance as ours is
so harmless, that even your husband can never object to it.'
'My husband!' exclaimed Belinda. 'You little know him. Jealous
and revengeful; ferocious in his revenge--a maniac in his jealousy!
Would you be assassinated before my eyes?' Mr. Cymon Tuggs, in a
voice broken by emotion, expressed his disinclination to undergo
the process of assassination before the eyes of anybody.
'Then leave me,' said Mrs. Captain Waters. 'Leave me, this night,
for ever. It is late: let us return.'
Mr. Cymon Tuggs sadly offered the lady his arm, and escorted her to
her lodgings. He paused at the door--he felt a Platonic pressure
of his hand. 'Good night,' he said, hesitating.
'Good night,' sobbed the lady. Mr. Cymon Tuggs paused again.
'Won't you walk in, sir?' said the servant. Mr. Tuggs hesitated.
Oh, that hesitation! He DID walk in.
'Good night!' said Mr. Cymon Tuggs again, when he reached the
'Good night!' replied Belinda; 'and, if at any period of my life,
I--Hush!' The lady paused and stared with a steady gaze of horror,
on the ashy countenance of Mr. Cymon Tuggs. There was a double
knock at the street-door.
'It is my husband!' said Belinda, as the captain's voice was heard
'And my family!' added Cymon Tuggs, as the voices of his relatives
floated up the staircase.
'The curtain! The curtain!' gasped Mrs. Captain Waters, pointing
to the window, before which some chintz hangings were closely
'But I have done nothing wrong,' said the hesitating Cymon.
'The curtain!' reiterated the frantic lady: 'you will be
murdered.' This last appeal to his feelings was irresistible. The
dismayed Cymon concealed himself behind the curtain with pantomimic
Enter the captain, Joseph Tuggs, Mrs. Tuggs, and Charlotta.
'My dear,' said the captain, 'Lieutenant, Slaughter.' Two iron-
shod boots and one gruff voice were heard by Mr. Cymon to advance,
and acknowledge the honour of the introduction. The sabre of the
lieutenant rattled heavily upon the floor, as he seated himself at
the table. Mr. Cymon's fears almost overcame his reason.
'The brandy, my dear!' said the captain. Here was a situation!
They were going to make a night of it! And Mr. Cymon Tuggs was
pent up behind the curtain and afraid to breathe!
'Slaughter,' said the captain, 'a cigar?'
Now, Mr. Cymon Tuggs never could smoke without feeling it
indispensably necessary to retire, immediately, and never could
smell smoke without a strong disposition to cough. The cigars were
introduced; the captain was a professed smoker; so was the
lieutenant; so was Joseph Tuggs. The apartment was small, the door
was closed, the smoke powerful: it hung in heavy wreaths over the
room, and at length found its way behind the curtain. Cymon Tuggs
held his nose, his mouth, his breath. It was all of no use--out
came the cough.
'Bless my soul!' said the captain, 'I beg your pardon, Miss Tuggs.
You dislike smoking?'
'Oh, no; I don't indeed,' said Charlotta.
'It makes you cough.'
'Oh dear no.'
'You coughed just now.'
'Me, Captain Waters! Lor! how can you say so?'
'Somebody coughed,' said the captain.
'I certainly thought so,' said Slaughter. No; everybody denied it.
'Fancy,' said the captain.
'Must be,' echoed Slaughter.
Cigars resumed--more smoke--another cough--smothered, but violent.
'Damned odd!' said the captain, staring about him.
'Sing'ler!' ejaculated the unconscious Mr. Joseph Tuggs.
Lieutenant Slaughter looked first at one person mysteriously, then
at another: then, laid down his cigar, then approached the window
on tiptoe, and pointed with his right thumb over his shoulder, in
the direction of the curtain.
'Slaughter!' ejaculated the captain, rising from table, 'what do
The lieutenant, in reply, drew back the curtain and discovered Mr.
Cymon Tuggs behind it: pallid with apprehension, and blue with
wanting to cough.
'Aha!' exclaimed the captain, furiously. 'What do I see?
Slaughter, your sabre!'
'Cymon!' screamed the Tuggses.
'Mercy!' said Belinda.
'Platonic!' gasped Cymon.
'Your sabre!' roared the captain: 'Slaughter--unhand me--the
'Murder!' screamed the Tuggses.
'Hold him fast, sir!' faintly articulated Cymon.
'Water!' exclaimed Joseph Tuggs--and Mr. Cymon Tuggs and all the
ladies forthwith fainted away, and formed a tableau.
Most willingly would we conceal the disastrous termination of the
six weeks' acquaintance. A troublesome form, and an arbitrary
custom, however, prescribe that a story should have a conclusion,
in addition to a commencement; we have therefore no alternative.
Lieutenant Slaughter brought a message--the captain brought an
action. Mr. Joseph Tuggs interposed--the lieutenant negotiated.
When Mr. Cymon Tuggs recovered from the nervous disorder into which
misplaced affection, and exciting circumstances, had plunged him,
he found that his family had lost their pleasant acquaintance; that
his father was minus fifteen hundred pounds; and the captain plus
the precise sum. The money was paid to hush the matter up, but it
got abroad notwithstanding; and there are not wanting some who
affirm that three designing impostors never found more easy dupes,
than did Captain Waters, Mrs. Waters, and Lieutenant Slaughter, in
the Tuggses at Ramsgate.
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